「手洗いうがいは大切に」 (Tearai Ugai wa Taisetsu ni)
“Wash Your Hands and Gargle”
Uramichi Oniisan’s third episode gives Uramichi some more depth as we get insight into how he carries himself, who he can really believe in, and if he really has the strength to carry on his current lifestyle. At the same time, the story throws him a few bones along the way to help him evaluate some of the aspirations he does have as a depressed man in his late 20’s.
I was impressed with the quality of the writing for Uramichi’s internal monologues. While the past couple of episodes portrayed him as an overall stick in the mud who was designed specifically not to be happy or not to comprehend joy, this episode offers his own perspective to explain how his mind processes the world around him. With his monologues, Uramichi comes off as someone whose depression leads him to be wary of humoring the parts of him that want to believe in himself.
Uramichi has a difficult time comprehending the world around him with such a depressive haze that it can be easy for him to lose sight of himself and those around him, especially as he’s going through the motions. It’s hard not to watch his vision blurring over both his self-image and everyone around him and reflect on times in your career where you’re questioning whether the place you’re currently at is exactly what you worked so hard to get to or if it was the first opportunity that came.
In a tragic twist of fate, we’re also given a glimpse at how he sees the earnest attempts he makes to re-evaluate what made him enjoy “Together with Maman”. The small bit of enthusiasm he got from drawing PreCure characters is all the more devastating when the kids are thoroughly disgusted with his drawing. As soon as he saw the kids’ faces light up at the prospect of seeing Uramichi’s drawing, it made him want to give it his best shot to honor the kids’ wishes.
Interestingly enough, this helps tie into the episode’s central theme of faith, considering how drawing the PreCure characters was the first instance where he felt like he could believe in himself. He was quick to shoot down the religious door-knockers by affirming that he couldn’t possibly believe in a higher power if he can’t believe in himself.
It takes the kids cheering for him to make him want to believe in his own abilities at times to meet their expectations, but letting them down only ends up deflating his efforts, ultimately drawing him back into feeling like it was a mistake to even bother getting hopeful. It sucks even further because his drawing skills are once again used against him when a TV psychologist’s personality test unintentionally mocks how Uramichi carries himself through life. Where fate seems to enjoy digging into Uramichi to the point where efforts to believe in himself and his goals are crumpled up and thrown away.
It’s not all doom-and-gloom on Uramichi Oniisan as we still get some very hilarious moments revolving around Iketeru and Uramichi being put upon to wear revealing outfits and fight each other as the Jerminator and the Bacterian. The comedic timing was perfect when Iketeru’s first throw ended up being strong enough to produce a heavy thud as a rubber ball slammed into Uramichi’s face. Uramichi is also given his day in the sun as the crew goes out of their way to film a segment where the Bacterian doesn’t have to be pelted with rubber balls.
But it makes me happy to see that Iketeru’s optimistic disposition isn’t weaponized against Uramichi and that he’s probably Uramichi’s greatest advocate. Iketeru might accidentally have a strong arm, but he’s as unenthused about being a part of the Jerminator skits as Uramichi is and doesn’t even hold it against him when he makes crass jokes that cause him to ruin several takes. On top of this, he appears to be the only person who actually likes Uramichi’s drawings. I was expecting this episode to be just as gag-heavy as the rest but was left surprised by how much emotional depth is given to characters who could’ve easily been shallow or exist for relatable comedy.